^view from my balcony^
It’s a rainy overcast day here in La Cruz today. Perfect first day of September, but making me miss Seattle something fierce. I just want to go to Ballard Coffee Works in my sweater and sweat pants, get a chocolate hemp chai with whipped cream, and watch movies on the couch all day with my boyfriend. I love autumn, I love fall.
It’s funny what we come to miss, even in the midst of being in a spectacular, awesome location on the planet. In place of my Seattle-heart longings, I think I will opt for another hour or two filled with yoga, stretching, classical music, then lunch time quesadillas - or maybe breakfast tacos today!
This weekend was fun. We checked out Sayulita, which is a hip little surf town with tons of english speaking folks and American dollar prices. Thankfully, it is the low season so it wasn’t as busy as I hear it usually gets. It was nice to check out, but I have no burning desire to return. After Sayulita we went out to Playas de Marcos beach for sunset again. A place I have been once before and posted photos. The waves werent as crazy this time, so we all jumped in the water and enjoyed the natural wave pool fun. Saturday and Sunday nights we went out for local music in town. Any music playing goes from 8-11pm, so I am always getting to bed an awesomely early hour. Other perks of the weekend included a VW show at the marina, a few blocks away and swimming in our swimming pool during a totally sky-lit lightning storm. Yes, thats probably not the safest of ideas, but I like to live on the wild side :)
I wrote up a plan for myself for working out this week. Ive been thinking a lot lately about how you really must make time for your workouts to achieve your goals. Last night I went out, so this morning I did not want to get up at 7am. I slept until 8 and realized I could either still catch a ride to the city to buy the new pair of shoes I need, or I could take my time, get the workout I know I need and want and figure out my shoe situation later. I opted for exercise and relaxation.
Here is todays workout:
2 mins running stairs
Complete 8 reps of each exercise:
-Alternating knife jacks (opp hand to foot reach)
-Leg lifts with butt up at top
-Side plank hip dips
-Spiderman Mountain Climbers (cross under, opp knee to elbow)
Repeat for a total of 3 runs and two core rounds
Complete 8 reps of each exercise:
-Single Leg Squat to bench
-Single leg toe touch (elevated, touch below toe)
-Regular Push-ups - no knees! (go as low as you can and still push yourself back up)
30s rest, repeat 3 times
Happy September, Everybody!
This started out as a fitness blog, so I figure I should keep up my fitness posts as much as possible too!
The saying above is one that has been motivting me lately. It sounds pretty out there, but the meaning behind it is simple: you must challenge yourself to see results. You must push your self out of your comfort zone if you want to achieve your goal(s).
Working out on the road has been challenging. I walked away from being a full time personal trainer in a gym, with enough equipment at home for any work out (I miss my stability ball and foam roller the most), teaching a strength training class once per week, and being a roller derby athlete. Talk about best shape of my life so far! One roller derby practice easily burns a thousand calories, if not more. I knew well before my travels started that I would need to keep up some serious exercise to maintain that level of fitness on the road.
Being out and about, I found myself not knowing where to start. I did little things here and there, but never really had a plan. Since Ive been at Agave Azul here in Nayarit, Mexico, I have decided to get myself into a regular routine. Turning back to the Fitblr community, on Tumblr, of course helps. Those motivational photos rock! Then, I tried a couple workouts to see how I liked them, and wrote out a plan for myself for the week. I circle each thing that I actually complete, add other things when I do something more or different, and reflect at the end of the week.
To start, I opted for some basics. My push-ups have never been great, squats are one of the most basic functional exercises out there, and single leg toe touches (bodyweight deadlifts) offer balance and stability. I have always said that if I lived on a sandy beach I would take advantage of it and build up my endurance running in the sand. Well, I wouldnt want to make a liar out of myself. So combined with those three simple strength moves I run up and down the beach. 5 strength rounds, 4 beach runs. I am aiming to do this 3x per week, with a waking stretch and evening stretch for flexibility. On the inbetween days I do a bit more stretching and focus on balance, stability and core. I am very lucky to have a pool at my fingertips right now and am taking advantage of that as much as possible. I swim 10 (down and back = 1) laps alternating between breast stroke and puppy paddle - working on my [injured] shoulders. Since it is challenging for me to find pulling exercises in traveling I have decided to let the pool help me with this. I hold the edge of the pool with my fingers and pull myself up as much as I can, holding my elbows in to my body as close as possible. I do this about 10 times. There is also a small bridge crossing over the pool and I have realized I can hold on to this, lift myself up, and do some kind of pull-ups. I do about ten of these as well. I am stoked about this because pulling has never been my strong suit, especially pull ups, so getting to work the same muscles, with assistance from the water, has been great!
There is a girl here in town (who is from the states/speaks fluent english) who teaches aerial silk rope classes and is starting up again this coming week! I will be working with her twice per week, one hour per session, 6 sessions total. I am absolutely ecstatic about that. I did aerial silks for about 6 months when I lived in Portland, some years ago, and I lo-lo-loved it. I am not quite sure why I had to stop, but I know it was mighty pricey, and the deals down here are insanely cheap when compared to the US dollar. I am excited to have something to incorporate my training towards, that always helps with motivation!
We’re checking out the nearby surf town of Sayulita today, maybe, just maybe I’ll opt for a surf lesson. That is something else I am very interested in, but not sure if it is the time or place right now. More posts soon, after the weekend. I hope you enjoy your weekend! Drink lots of water and do something fun!
Ive been making pretty great friends with this other woman that is staying at Agave Azul right now too and we decided with our three day weekend we should go off and stay the night some where. With Thunderstorms in the forecast, we still decided to go to Yelapa & boy am I ever glad we did!
Yelapa is a small beach town that, according to Wikipedia, lies in the southernmost cove of the world’s seventh largest bay. I read this article:
about Yelapa and was instantly sold when Leeda asked me if I was interested. I recommend reading that little informative article, but I will say Yelapa has no roads or cars and is only reachable by a 45 minute boat ride from Puerto Vallarta. It is pretty private, and seemingly only a day trip visit to many tourists.
Upon arrival, we went to Casas Garcias, a hotel we found searching on Booking.com. We had a two bedroom, one bath suite for $70 USD per night - and we only stayed one night. Thats $35 per person! Check out the amazing pictures! We didnt spend much time there, but it was still breathtaking. We pay the owner for our night and he explains to us there is one main road that we can walk on towards “downtown” and if we want to get back to the main beach we can either wait until low tide and wade across the river, or there is a man with a boat who will take us across for 5 pesos. Immediately after he leaves we see a large line of people wading across the river and we are not inclined to pay 5 pesos for a boat ride. It is an interesting and humorous site to see.
We set our stuff down and decide to walk around the town a little bit and venture toward a waterfall that we knew was about a 10-15 minute walk from the pier/downtown area. The roads were small and windy. There were a couple four-wheelers carrying large water jugs or gas canisters, but other than that every one was on foot. On our way to waterfal we ran into a couple and their friend from the bar back in La Cruz the night before. They had seen us enjoying the music and I had actually said hi to the girl that night too. Funny, how small a world it is. The couple mention they are hiking up with their friend to watch him launch off for parasailing, and they would be on the beach later for a beer if we wanted to join. Leeda and I continue to make our way up to the waterfall. The paths are all green and lush, per usual. An older woman comes walking down the path towards us balancing a cooler on top of her head. I thought to myself this seems like something just out of The Jungle Book. She offers us homemade popsicles, which we respectfully decline. I cant say I was insanely impressed by the waterfall. After all, it is rainy season and all the river water in the area is mud brown from the run off, but we explored across a bride near the waterfall and it lead up to what appeared to be an abonded mansion. There was a concrete bridge leading up to the mansion that had collapsed (sign 1 of abondonment). It was practically vertical and covered in moss so it made for a slippery climb. The mansion itself (pictured above) was absolutely breathtaking. The downstairs had an entry way, a room that I assume would be a bathroom, another room that seemed possible for a master bedroom, then another open area that I would guess to be the kitchen due to the amount of bricks piled up in there. There are no applicances, no flooring, walls, anything, it is very bare bones. I first went into the room I determined would be a bathroom and I see a bunch of birds - maybe 6 or 8 - fly out immediately. I assume they are nested in there so I look up to the ceiling to observe their nests, but there are none. I thought this was strange, then I realized some of these birds were still fluttering about, as the house was very open and the walls dont go all the way to a closed ceiling, they could freely fly in and out of room to room. It did not take me long to realize, these were bats, tiny, skittish, bats. This was a very big sign to me that the house had been abandoned if it was inhabited by bats. Up a very rickity staircase there are tons of rooms and open spaces. A very large pile of sand/clay fills almost an entire room. Then there is a large open room that overlooks the waterfall that we observed below. You can see the photo of me standing in the window/balcony area. It was absolutely amazing and my imaginative mine ran wild for what it would be like to live in that house. Before climbing back down and away from the house, I noticed a tiny bat clinging to the wall near the ceiling of one of the rooms. He was braving staying behind, as once again all the bats took flight when I entered. I tried to approach him slowly to get a picture, but I spooked him before I could. I am pretty positive they were fruit bats and they were so cute!
Leeda and I made our way down to the main beach (yes, wading across the river at low tide) for dinner, then sat on the becah in some lounge chairs - provided by the restaurant - until we noticed the couple and their friend from La Cruz sitting a yards down and decided to join them. It wasnt long before Leeda decided she needed a little siesta, and I was going to head back to our hotel room with her until the guys from the group gave me a little flack for not sticking around and I was instantly intrigued on getting to know new people. The couple and their friend had been talking to these other two girls, visiting Yelapa for a week from San Fransisco, so the 6 of us got to chatting. With a little bit of rain we moved under cover for more drinks. After a drink and round of “Mexican Moonshine” we decided to head back across the river and grab dinner. The San Fran girls knew the owners of a place called Rays and he had made a special beef stew just for them, so they promised they would return. This place had amazing food! I had a portobello mushroom burger with goat cheese on it and a freshly blended passionfruit margarita. Leeda wondered down from our hotel room just in time to grab dinner with us too! After dinner the San Fran girls invited every one back to the three story tree house they were sleeping in, to drink more and visit. Leeda declined, but I tagged along. No way I was going to miss out on a three story tree house!
The rocky, windy, and in parts wet, path to the tree house was a fun and short journey. The tree house itself was breathtaking. A huge open kitchen, suspended beds and couches hanging from ropes. The place slept 8 people and was $100 USD per night. Talk about a cheap vacation with friends, if I could just get people down to Mexico :p. The girls explained the only downfall of the tree house was that it was so open the guest book logged some activity of thievery. They placed empty beer bottles near where intruders might enter so they would be woken up at the sound of entry. Regardless, they felt decently safe. I prompted a good bye about after an hour of arriving, as I was getting pretty sleepy. The couple and their friend walked me home and went on to their boat to head back to Nuevo Vallarta.
I slept pretty well in my mosquito net bed - first time Ive ever experienced that. Leeda and I woke up to have a smoothie. She reported taking time to walk up to the larger waterfall we had heard was in the area, and I informed her I was going to accept my invitation to go with the San Fran girls on horseback up the same waterfall. We discussed plans and agreed we would most likely catch each other on the beach later. The horse back ride was only $35 USD and about an hour ride up. We tied the horses up and walked through some jungle-forest terrain until we arrived at a set stone set of stairs, seemling out of no where, and walked down to some rocks and sand below to place our things and swim. The girls and guide swam around and took pictures. The guide, named Hector, who was about all of our age, was very friendly and fun. I climbed to the top of the waterfall to see what was up there and Hector followed later, telling me this is a place he always comes, climbs, etc. I was surprised by the giant boulders in the river and the rushing, yet safety of the water. Post trip, my butt and hips are quite sore. Im not used to riding. The only downfall for me is the way animals are treated so differently and viewed so differently. I definitely didnt appreciate one point when Hector tossed a rock at my horses balls to get him to keep walking. It seemed apparent that the horses were either a bit tired or just didnt want to walk up to the water fall, but once we got going it was okay. At one point, when we were getting ready to head back, one of the girls’ horse got tripped up in some bush/twigs where he was standing and he fell down. With the weight of his saddle was trapped down and could not get up. Hector took the saddle off and he was okay, but in the process of trying to stand up the horse swung his neck around hit his head very hard on a tree. You could tell he felt it and it shook us all up a bit. However, the horse was not injured at all and it hardly seemed to phase him.
I had dinner on the beach with the girls when we got back and met Leeda for our water taxi back. Thunderstorms and lightning moved in about a half hour before our departure and though I didnt notice, Leeda informed me once we were on the water taxi that electricity in the whole town had gone out. She explained a local woman informed her that the town had only received electricity about ten years prior. We wondered how something like that would go about being fixed, when you have miles and miles of electrical wire running through the mountains with no roads to get to them.
The rain continued on all the way back to La Cruz, where I came in, unpacked and started blogging about my entire past week. I want to start blogging more regularly because I want to write about all my experiences, but cutting three hours out of one night to write all this up is a little much for me. I hope you enjoyed reading :) Back to work tomorrow, back to my regular exercise routine, oh! And Patches gets in tomrorow evening!!! Leeda and I are picking him up at the air port. SO Excited!
This past Saturday the three of us ladies staying at Agave Azul went up to San Sebastian del Oeste for a day. This is a tiny little town of 300 people that is about an hour and half drive from where we are staying in La Cruz. It was a mining town back in the day and occupied ~30,000 people in this town alone, according to the locals we talked to. It is a known tourist destination for Mexicans, but from what I understand does not get a lot traffic from other folks.
We originally went up there because the woman who runs Agave Azul has a friend who lives up there and will be coming home from Summer vacation soon, hoping her house will be ready. So, in short we went up there for a day trip and to see if her house is ready for her.
First of all, I got to drive there and back! I havent driven in a couple months and I really miss it, but I also havent ever driven in a foreign country so it was quite an experience! We are on a main highway, heading up to the mountains, and randomly there are giant speed bumps in the middle of the road that you have to really slow down, almost to a complete stop, for. Most of the speed bumps are between small towns where you need to go slow, but some are put in by people who have businesses and they want you to have to stop, look, and reall consider maybe coming in to their business. This was also a pretty nice highway, but there were still a considerable amount of pot holes. Everything went pretty smooth, except at one point a police car came up behind me with its lights on and no one in the car knew the local rules - am I supposed to pull over and let them go around like in the states? I decided to veer off the road a tad and slow down and they did just go around me. For better or for worse, the car I was driving has California plates.
When we arrive in San Sebastian we say hello to the people who own a local hostel, who also own the house of the friend who is away for summer vacay. We talk to Fernando, the husband, about taking us up to a town even further up the mountain where the mining actually happened and he agrees, after we go to check on the house. The entire town is cobblestone streets, with grass growing up through all the cracks. A stream (river currently, due to rainy season) runs through the town. Everything is so lush and green. It is a perfect, overcast, foggy day.
Upon arriving back from checking on the house, we have lunch at a restaurant next to the hostel. The friendly woman cook comes out to see how we like our food. Everything is fresh and handmade, including my tortillas (I got fajitas). The cook was so sweet.
After lunch we find Fernando and he asks us where our car is. We point out the Honda Civic and he is confused as to how we think we’re going to get that up the mountain. We explain we thought we would be riding with him and he explains he thought he would send a guide with us but didnt think we would need his vehicle. After the confusion is settled we get into a forerunner with two men who are working for Fernando up the mountain, and we are off. Note the picture facing out the windshield of a car. The steering wheel air bag placement has been stapled back together and the passenger one looks like it is barely sticking together. We assume the air bags were either stolen, or more likely, they went off, were cut out, and the car was literally stapled back together. I cant help but smile and laugh to myself the entire ride up the mountain. What a funny situation to be in. The men driving us were very nice and friendly. Funny, that everyone speaks at least a tiny bit of English, but for the most part all communication was in Spanish. Thankfully, one woman with us from Agave speaks almost fluent Spanish and can do a lot of conversing and translating for the rest of us.
At the top of the mountain the view is still not good, the fog is thick. However, this makes for a crisp air and cool climate, not something you get living by the beach. The men explain to us that 40,000 people used to live up in the mountains when it was the mining days, but now maybe only 40. He points out a one room school house and says there are about 6 kids who attend school there. We go to a very nice and well kept church that has a blossoming rose bush out front. The legend goes back in the day a virgin rode a mule up the mountain to the church and the moment she arrived the mule died. Where the towns people buried the mule this rose bush grew and now it blooms all year round.
These men who fell into position of our tour guides, were working has house construction workers up the mountain, so they took us to the cabins where they are working. The cabins are very nice! Next to the cabins is an insanely large mansion house that is in the midst of being built. The owner was away, but the workers took us to see the house anyway. Again, completely open kitchen, all brick house. A photo above shows a panorama shot of the kitchen. We briefly visited with the men, played with their dog, and partaked in a small bit of local tequila with lime and salt, of course, before taking off back down the mountain to San Sebastian again.
We ended the day in San Sebastian at an awesome little cafe called Cafe Montana (Mon-Tan-Ya), where I enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate on the balcony that over looked the main plaza of the village.